There is an interesting comparison in this post that compares Avro, Protobuf and Thrift of binary messages sizes and how well the protocol supports schema evolution. Another interesting data transfer protocol is Parquet, which is optimized for column- oriented data.
I really like the ideas behind ActivityPub as used by Mastodon and gnu.social. There is an interesting post called “What is ActivityPub and how will it change the Internet?” that describes the promise of the protocol. For a contrasting look at ActivityPub versus Atom/RSS feeds see here.
I want to try using Mastodon, but I’m unsure about whether to set up a new Mastodon pod, or join one of the existing ones.
The more I use Deep Learning, the more I am amazed by it. Some things which would be hard to do programmatically are easy with the right Neural Network. It feels like we are just starting to scratch the possibilities.
Today I was at a Computation meets Data Science Conference, organised by Wolfram Research and the CQF. There were some interesting talks. The ones I enjoyed the most used Mathematica to analyse data in real time in interesting ways. It looks like Mathematica has good support for building neural networks now. I was impressed at how quickly Jon Macloone from Wolfram was able to get some quite useful neural network models up and running. Jon made the point that for some problems you are able to get results really quickly with neural nets, and others it’s really hard to get good results, and it’s not obvious which problems are which.
I read this post on QUIC over at LWN. QUIC is a protocol that multiplexes network connection streams on top of UDP (to get through routers). I had no idea that it was actively used in production with YouTube! Apparently the YouTube mobile app uses QUIC for streaming videos. According to Jana Iyengar (from Google) around 35% of outbound traffic is happening using QUIC.
My new Amazon Spot was delivered yesterday. It is a round Alexa device with a small screen that lives in the bedroom and acts like an alarm clock that you can shout at. We have a number of other Alexa devices, although this is the only one with a screen. It is great to be able to ask Alexa for the news in the morning and get a video feed from the BBC. First impressions are very positive, although it was quite expensive given that an Echo Dot is about £30.
I just formed the company “Hi-Tech Nomad Ltd”. I have had the domain for forever, and have always wanted to do something with it. I have the twitter handle @hitechnomad, and lots of other social media assets. My plan is to provide information, goods and resources for “digital nomads” – those people who travel and work on things that are location independent.
I just bought myself the latest Apple Watch! I had the original one – the Series 0 – and just upgraded to the Series 3 (without cellular support). I use my watch all the time – I keep track of my heart rate, exercise, and it is my main interface to my phone when I am out and about.
There is a great post over at Charlie Stross’ Blog that gives the text of his keynote at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December 2017. He makes some interesting points about old, slow AI – i.e. corporations, and compares them to cannibalistic organisms that shed people like cells. He talks about the ways the standard limiter of regulation are failing (regulatory capture and regulatory lag). He ends with a fairly negative assessment of where we are heading. It’s a thought-provoking talk, and well worth reading / watching.